Do investors have the attention span of a goldfish?

We look at 15 failed startups that collectively destroyed $2.3 billion of investor and VC money

Conventional wisdom says that investors and VCs don’t have the “bandwidth” (attention span) needed to read or understand a pitch deck that is over something around 10 pages.

Anything over 10 pages, this conventional wisdom says, and their eyes glaze over and they mentally tune out.

Perhaps investors and VCs ought to focus more deeply on the content and less on the length.

A recent post from Failory ( showed investors plunking down $2.27 billion in 15 companies that went bankrupt in 2023.

At their height, these companies were worth more than $5 billion. While these companies included some logical concepts (Convoy = Uber for freight trucks), they also included some real doozies (announced was a “molecular beverage printer” with an $899 price tag)

A quick review shows that these 15 companies were spread among 9 industries and had a similar range of reasons for failure, so the lack of analysis is not relegated to one or two areas. They were not recent companies, some of them go back to 2012.

So defy conventional wisdom… start your next pitch deck with this list of 15 failed startups, the money lost on them and tell the investor or VC “let’s focus on content here, not length”.

Finally, there might be a cool business arising from this: how about a database of pitch decks that these companies made to their investors?

Topline Summary

Industries Involved:

👉 Logistics: Convoy, Sendy

👉 Food Tech/Robotics: Zume, Cana Technology, Food Rocket

👉 HealthTech: HealthIQ

👉 Digital Mental Health: Mindstrong

👉 SaaS: Lummo

👉 FinTech: Plastiq, Clim8, Braid, TenureX

👉 Consumer Tech: Buzzer

👉 EdTech: FrontRow

👉 Social Media: Pebble

Reasons for Failure:

💩 Lack of Funding: Convoy, Zume, Plastiq, Cana Technology, Food Rocket, Sendy, Clim8, TenureX, Buzzer

💩 Operational Issues: Zume, HealthIQ, Sendy

💩 Failed Pivots: Zume, Lummo, Buzzer

💩 Industry Difficulties: Mindstrong, Braid

💩 Financial Mismanagement: HealthIQ

💩 No Product-Market Fit (PMF): Lummo, FrontRow, Pebble

💩 Acquisition: Mindstrong

💩 Technical Issues: Braid

💩 Low Usage: Pebble

Total Investment Made:

💲 Convoy: $1B+

💲 Zume: $445M

💲 HealthIQ: $200M+

💲 Mindstrong: $160M

💲 Lummo: $149M

💲 Plastiq: $141M

💲 Buzzer: $44M

💲 Cana Technology: $30M

💲 Food Rocket: $27M

💲 Sendy: $22M

💲 FrontRow: $17M

💲 Clim8: $15M

💲 Braid: $10M

💲 TenureX: $5M

💲 Pebble: $1M

💲 Total: Approximately $2.27 billion+

Total Net Worth Valued:

☝️ Convoy: $3.8B

☝️ HealthIQ: $450M

☝️ Plastiq: $480M

☝️ Sendy: $80M

☝️ Total: Approximately $4.81 billion

Year Created:

💫 2012: Plastiq, FrontRow

💫 2014: HealthIQ, Sendy

💫 2015: Convoy, Zume

💫 2018: Cana Technology

💫 2019: Lummo, Clim8, Braid

💫 2020: Buzzer, TenureX

💫 2021: Food Rocket

💫 2022: Pebble

Read More

1) Convoy

Launched in 2015 and once backed by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, Convoy was a truck transportation startup that aimed to revolutionize the trucking side of the logistics industry by matching truckers with shippers through an Uber-like system.

2) Zume

Zume Pizza was a startup that aimed to revolutionize the pizza industry by using robots and technology in the pizza-making process, coupled with a unique cooking-on-the-way delivery model. It failed to work.

3) HealthIQ

Health IQ was a health insurance marketplace startup. In a significant strategic shift, Health IQ began offering Medicare Advantage plans in 2019 to secure substantial commissions. The company lacked a sustainable business model and failed to prioritize financial prudence and compliance.

4) Mindstrong

Mindstrong was a digital mental health tech company, initially focused on developing digital biomarkers to spot early signs of mental illness and adding virtual therapy and other digital mental health services to its offerings.

5) Lummo

Lummo, formerly known as BukuKas, was an Indonesia-based startup. The SaaS startup had two main avenues of business; e-commerce enablement and bookkeeping software.

6) Plastiq

Plastiq was a B2B credit card payment FinTech company. The company’s market consisted of small and medium-sized businesses and individuals whom it enabled to make credit card payments to vendors who didn’t otherwise accept them.

7) Buzzer

Buzzer was a streaming startup that aimed to captivate Gen Z sports fans through its mobile app, launched in 2021. The app enabled users to stream live parts of sporting events directly to their phones, with micro-payments starting as low as $1.

8) Cana Technology

Cana Technology was a US-based startup that wanted to bring 3D-printed beverages to peoples’ home kitchens, invoking images of Star Trek’s replicator machine. Cana Technology’s first product announced was a “molecular beverage printer” with an $899 price tag.

9) Food Rocket

San Francisco-based Food Rocket was a rapid grocery delivery startup with an impressive goal — 10-minute grocery deliveries. It employed a fleet of bicycles and scooters and had its own micro-warehouses and dark stores.

10) Sendy

Sendy was a Kenyan logistics company that helped retailers purchase fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) and offered end-to-end fulfillment services.

11) FrontRow

FrontRow was an India-based startup offering a hobby-learning platform where users could take courses in various genres. Over four years, the company raised $17 million, acquired 2 million users, and experienced significant growth and challenges.

12) Clim8

London-based Clim8 was an app for making sustainable investments. It allowed users of all ages and experience levels to quickly invest any sum of money into eco-friendly projects and climate change solutions aiming to make the world a better, more sustainable place.

13) Braid

Braid was a consumer payments app that aimed to popularize shared wallets among users. The app offered FDIC-insured, multi-user accounts that friends and family could use to pool money together and collectively pay for shared expenses, like vacations or nights out.

14) TenureX

TenureX was an innovative software platform that aimed to streamline correspondent banking relationships or the authorizations financial institutions give to one another to provide services on their behalf.

15) Pebble

Pebble launched as an alternative to Twitter after Elon Musk’s takeover, which would lead to massive layoffs and the renaming of the platform to X. In fact, the startup was founded by ex-Twitter employees and was essentially a replica of Twitter’s original format. Pebble shut down because it simply could not attract a big enough user base.